French word of the Day: Râler

French word of the day: Râler
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
If you have lived in France for at least a few months, you will realise that complaining is part of the French DNA.

Why do I need to know the word Râler

Because it is something that everyone does in France – probably because of the mountains of paperwork. 

What does it mean? 

Râler is a word meaning to moan, agonise, complain, whine or grumble. It’s one of many different verbs to describe complaining. It is pronounced ral-ey

READ ALSO 11 phrases that will let you complain like the French

As a noun, râle also translates as ‘death rattle’ – the sound made by people close to death, a kind of gargling caused by saliva and other liquids that tend to build up in the through and lungs. 

The French, as you may have noticed, take complaining deadly seriously. 

But as much as we love to tease this French habit, there are definitive positive sides to the national hobby.

Use it like this

Râler is quite slangy, although not offensive, so is more often spoken than written.

Râler est le sport national français – Complaining is the French national sport

Savoir râler au bon moment, auprès des bonnes personnes et pour les bonnes raisons est un art – Knowing how to complain at the right time, to the right people and for the right reasons, is an art. 

Les Français n’arrêtent pas de râler – The French do not stop complaining

It can also be used as a adjective like so:

Les Français sont très râleurs – The French are real complainers

Member comments

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  1. As in “to rail against” – wonder when the spelling changed in English? Rale still means a rattling sound in lungs.

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